Sunday, June 28, 2015

P390 System running several versions of MVS, OS/390 or Z/OS

I spent the day visiting with visitors from NY and Ireland - took everyone to Dim Sum at Rincon Center in SF. Travel was challenging, with a confluence of events today that overloaded transit.

The annual Gay Pride parade, a Grateful Dead concert, and an SF Giants game meant that the Caltrain was so jammed that people could only board at the first 4 or 5 stations, the next 20+ had huge frustrated crowds trying to push onto a train with zero room.

The roads were even worse,  which is why we didn't try to drive in. Originally we were going to head up to arrive 2.5 or 3 hours before our meal reservation, but we switched to mass transit plus a 25 minute walk from the train station to our restaurant.

Finally got back home in the early evening, so not much accomplished in the workshop.


I was able to fire up several versions of the OS, validating that this system is in great shape. MVS 5.2.2 came up fine, as did Z/OS 1.4, but I had a failure during IPL on the OS/390 2.10 system.

My problem with the OS/390 boot was in the OS/2 driver that handles the virtual disk drives (AWSCKD for count-key-data type disks); it failed and disabled all disk access. That is undoubtedly due to an integrity or corruption issue on one of the virtual disk packs. I expect that once I know how to use the utilities to load and examine those PC virtual disk pack files, I can fix this somehow.

I own a couple of cards that would act as a 370 channel, allowing any physical peripheral for MVS mainframes to be hooked to the P390 system. However, these cards are designed to fit into the older IBM style PCs - the Microchannel Architecture bus (MCA) - and not into the x235 or any modern PCI bus oriented machine.

If I can find a card for the PCI machines that acts as a mainframe channel, I would put in into the system. I don't have any devices that require bus and tag channel connections, which makes this a bit theoretical.

The P390 system does provide SCSI connections which might allow my IBM 9 track tape drive to be attached (as a 3420 tape drive as far as MVS is concerned). That wouldn't require the channel card, it could be connected and tested much sooner.

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